Three U.S. boys kidnapped in 2008 found safe in the Netherlands

November 7th, 2010 - 12:02 am ICT by BNO News  

THE HAGUE (BNO NEWS) — Three American boys who were kidnapped by their fathers in 2008 were safely recovered in the Netherlands this week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced on Saturday.

Zaven Silah, 11, Alex Silah, 14, and Greg Silah, 12, were reported missing in Los Angeles on July 2, 2008 after their fathers did not return them to their mothers at the conclusion of a summer visitation. Their homes were found abandoned.

Despite public pleas for help by the mothers, both on camera and online, few evidence emerged since the kidnapping although a possible sighting was reported in Guatemala.

On Saturday, the FBI announced both the fathers and their children had been found in the Netherlands. “With the invaluable cooperation of the Greek and Dutch governments, fugitive brothers John and George Silah were arrested in The Hague, Netherlands, earlier this week after being sought by the FBI since 2008 for removing their children from the United States without the consent of their custodial mothers,” said Steven Martinez, Assistant Director of the FBI in Los Angeles.

A state arrest warrant on charges of parental abduction was issued by Los Angeles County on July 31, 2008 and a federal arrest warrant was issued for the Silah brothers on October 15, 2008 by the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California after they were charged with Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution.

According to the FBI, investigators had been following domestic and international leads that directed their focus overseas. “Several months ago, the investigation led to the area of Athens, Greece,” the agency said.

The investigation in Greece led authorities to the Netherlands, where they collaborated with Dutch law enforcement. This, eventually, led to the identification of the brothers and children in the Netherlands.

“Once the whereabouts of the brothers and the children were known, agents in Los Angeles obtained a provisional arrest warrant which enabled law enforcement in The Hague to carry out the arrest of the brothers and the safe recovery of the children on Tuesday,” the FBI said. “The successful arrests and recovery of the children would not have been possible without the international cooperation.”

The children were still being held by Dutch family protective services on Saturday but FBI agents are scheduled to travel with the victims’ mothers to the Netherlands within the next couple of days to reunite them with their children.

The Silah brothers are being held in the custody of Dutch police based on the provisional arrest warrant issued in the United States.

“There are pending state and federal charges for the Silah brothers. The United States government will seek justice for the victims, working cooperatively with our international partners,” the FBI added.

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